Nocturnal Voices

Weekend Whimsy: Phenomenal Phenology

This week promises the first warm, rainy nights of February,

when silent salamanders slip into vernal pools for their annual dance

and anurans announce the start of spring’s seasonal succession.

While avian acoustics drown in the competing cacophony,

who does not celebrate the phonology of frogs!

The Thirteenth Day of Christmas –

The rooster crows into darkness as the full moon set hours ago. Does he know about the feed, how the ingredients shifted and his hens are not laying? He knows enough to call to us when we forget the noon release, or if we fail to feed his flock the night before. He tells us, when we walk out the door, if there is a need in the hen house. He crows for a purpose, every time, it just takes attention. He does announce morning, too, religiously.

My mother raised me with roosters. She celebrates her 86th birthday today. She still walks to church, takes communion to shut-ins, maintains her garden, and concerns herself daily with the weather (literal, intellectual, spiritual and emotional) of her neighbors, her community, and her nine far-flung children. I dare you to try and learn a word about her.  She defies every attempt. The topic will be about you before you even recognize the silken turn in the conversation. She converses with purpose, every time, because she pays attention. Her birthday made a baker’s dozen, extending the twelve days just one more.

Daily Attention

Audubon: Mystery Solved Photo by Christopher F. Hansen


The wing

of the yellow-shafted flicker

turns red

for the eating of invasive honeysuckle.


What else do we do to ourselves?

What other easy-pickins  won’t last

the long migration,

or provide the stores we need?


What do we ingest that

colors us?

And might our friends

take note?




Fall Garlic

Bury me.

Break me into pieces.

Shove me into the darkness.


I will feel my Source.

I will follow the Light.

I will rise, multiplied,


to nurture you

with salubrious sustenance,

and scatter the predators.


Kale experiment

Last year’s kale lived all winter.  My fingers couldn’t wrap all the way around the green stem emerging from the rocks of the raised bed.  It went to seed this Spring, and by late summer, I saved resilient pods.  With only a few weeks to go before this fall’s first frost, I tossed them back into their birth bed, half-hopefully.  Maybe as the cold comes I can create a plastic cover for them, a “hot house”, or “cold frame”, or other such name – it’s all the same: capture the Sun, condense the liquid, refeed the seed.  Those will be the grandbabies of the momma plant. Does that make me Grandma too?


Support and Ruination

“I will not deny my child the privilege of failure.”

Shall I remind again of the deadline, or let it slide past?  Will building him up fool him into thinking he climbed that on his own, or set him on a path so he’s not overwhelmed when the air gets thin and the slopes so steep?  Will allowing him to fall devastate to the point that dusting off and trying again is no longer a perceived option?  I fear the weight of failure tethering him forever.

Fear never freed anyone.  How in God’s name do you free a child ? Faith, that’s how.  I opt for Silence, and wait patiently.  Time will tell. The climb is his.




Thank God for seasons, marking our time, giving us rhythm.  They measure time passing, and likewise make it endless in the repetition.

We are in the mountains, and this resort town is overrun with wildlife who’ve lost their fear of humans. The coyotes call each evening.

We cannot volunteer on the river this Fall, so SK said we should celebrate Fall in the mountains.  What a great suggestion.

I’m so glad she thought of it!


For Joy, focus attention and watch until there is little room for expectations. What is true appears.  Attending is Love. Allow them to become exactly who they are, each one in its time.

Attend the bee on the goldenrod, the children on vacation, the self.

These days of transition tear at the soul, threatening existential loneliness. The season mirrors the dying inside. The daily definition “Mom” drains away, like the green of active production mellows into yellow leaves.  Winter winds soon blow at the door of my life, threatening to lay me bare. I stand, eyes on the fledglings, proud of my work, and faithful. There will be a Spring and a new version of myself.



More succinctly said:

Another recent transplant:

“We moved here because NC is so Nice!
We were so tired of the traffic, poor air quality, the noise.
You can hear the birds and the frogs here.

It’s just that.. we have to drive everywhere now.
I wish things were closer; back home we could walk everywhere.                        Luckily, they’re putting some shops close by…

That will be – so Nice…” 


We call it being muted.